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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Confederate Winter Quarters

The Breakthrough Trail

 

—Pamplin Historical Park —

 
Confederate Winter Quarters Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
1. Confederate Winter Quarters Marker
Inscription. Brigadier General Samuel McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade spent the winter of 1864-1865 very close to the fortifications they defended. A temporary scarcity of building materials in the early winter compelled many of McGowan’s men to rely on their tents or burrow into the ground for additional shelter. By mid-winter, however, most of these quarters had been replaced by wooden huts such as the reconstructed buildings in front of you.

Small groups of soldiers banded together to share responsibility for preparing their temporary homes. Building styles and materials depended upon the skill and ingenuity of the residents themselves. The men cut down trees, “borrowed” lumber from nearby structures, and appropriated items such as barrels to make their huts as comfortable as they could. Six to eight men could share a hut this size.

The Confederates struggled against a variety of shortages during the last winter of the war. While drinking water could be found in nearby streams or shallow wells, food supplies proved erratic, and few Southern soldiers left even their best meals feeling entirely satisfied. Some regiments lacked warm clothes, blankets, and even shoes for a period of time until the failing Confederate transportation system could move these goods to the army. Many men complained about a scarcity of firewood
Confederate Winter Hut image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
2. Confederate Winter Hut
This reconstructed winter hut is located in the military encampment section of Pamplin Historical Park, near the trailhead of the Breakthrough Trail.
in a countryside made barren by the armies.

These privations, pessimism about the outcome of the war, and pleas from desperate families to come home all contributed to a growing desertion rate in the Confederate ranks. Still, the vast majority of Southern soldiers stood by their duty and their comrades as the advent of spring promised renewed fighting.
 
Erected by Pamplin Historical Park.
 
Location. 37° 10.85′ N, 77° 28.529′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. Marker can be reached from Duncan Road (Virginia Route 670), on the left when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in Pamplin Historical Park, near the start of the Breakthrough Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Breakthrough Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Winter Huts (within shouting distance of this marker); Petersburg Breakthrough Battlefield (within shouting distance of this marker); The Confederate Fortifications (within shouting distance of this marker); 1st Lieutenant Octavius Augustus Wiggins
Inside Confederate Winter Hut image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
3. Inside Confederate Winter Hut
(within shouting distance of this marker); McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Brother vs. Brother (about 400 feet away); Lieutenant Colonel George B. Damon (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. The top of the marker contains two war-time photographs of “Typical Civil War winter camps. During the winter of 1864-1865, this entire area would have been covered with scenes such as these, military communities consisting of McGowan’s 1,400 men. Archaeologists discovered the foundations of two of McGowan’s original soldier huts behind the Battlefield Center.”
 
Also see . . .
1. The Breakthrough Trail. Pamplin Historical Park website. (Submitted on January 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Breakthrough at Petersburg. The American Civil War website. (Submitted on January 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

3. The Final Assault. The Civil War Siege of Petersburg. (Submitted on January 18, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Tent in Confederate Winter Camp image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 23, 2007
4. Tent in Confederate Winter Camp
Due to shortages in timber, some of General Samuel McGowan’s South Carolina Brigade were forced to use their tents for shelter during the winter.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,288 times since then and 148 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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